The ‘Passport Price War’ ends on June 30, 2024

In 1983, the tiny Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis were among the last colonies to finally gain independence from Great Britain’s dissolving empire.

The two islands joined to become one country. And with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants, its microscopic economy was almost entirely dependent on sugar production… which can be an incredibly volatile and unpredictable industry.

So, in an effort to diversify and grow the economy, the government hatched a new idea: a “citizenship by investment” program whereby foreign investors could become citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis in exchange for a sizable investment in the country (including an option to purchase real estate).

It was an extremely clever idea. Most small countries who struggle to make ends meet usually end up borrowing lots of money from investors, which is known as ‘sovereign debt’. The Citizenship By Investment program in St. Kitts & Nevis essentially created the concept of ‘sovereign equity’.

This program became highly successful. So, naturally, like all good ideas, the St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship By Investment program was copied all throughout the region.

By 2016, five different Caribbean countries offered economic citizenship programs— St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.

Then a series of hurricanes (2017), followed by the Covid pandemic, devastated the Caribbean tourism industry. So, these governments began to rely very heavily on their citizenship programs to bring in revenue.

Since there was very little to differentiate one island’s citizenship from another, the governments entered into a full-blown price war. So, whereas $500,000 was once a common price for a Citizenship By Investment program, governments began to slash the price tag down to just $100,000.

(Technically, this $100,000 option isn’t really an investment, i.e. you don’t get your money back. So, it’s really more of a donation.)

Over the years, a total of around 88,000 people have received passports through these programs.

Bear in mind that granting citizenship in exchange for an investment in the country is not some illicit, dodgy scam; these are fully transparent government programs based on legislation passed by their respective parliaments.

Clearly, as sovereign nations, it is up to them to decide how best to raise revenue. Except that the European Union disagreed and threw a hissy fit…

It turns out that the bureaucrats in the EU believe that these Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs are security threats.

Granted, these same bureaucrats happily ignore the millions of migrants who invade Europe year after year without so much as a background check. But fewer than 100,000 ‘economic citizens’ over a 40-year period? Massive security threat.

You can’t even begin to make up some idiotic logic.

So, these Eurocrats have been making a ton of noise and pressuring Caribbean nations to stop the Citizenship by Investment programs, or, at a minimum, to raise the price in order to reduce demand. Any country who didn’t comply risked losing its visa-free travel to Europe.

So, several weeks ago, the leaders of four Caribbean countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis – signed a Memorandum agreeing to raise the minimum investment threshold to $200,000, effectively doubling the cost of the cheapest options.

(Saint Lucia did not sign the agreement citing “contractual arrangements” that could open them up to legal action if they raised prices. But said they intend to sign “once it becomes possible.”)

The deadline for the price change is June 30, 2024. This means that anyone who acts swiftly can still qualify under the old pricing.

Single applicants can still grab a Saint Lucia passport for as little as $121,050 including all fees, or an Antigua and Barbuda passport for $149,800 all in. Technically Dominica is a little cheaper, but we don’t recommend the program because Dominica has already lost visa-free access to the UK and Ireland.

Dependents add to the cost; you can use our CBI calculator here to see the best option for your situation.

(Remember that our Total Access members actually pay even lower prices for these programs, bringing the cost to as low as $108,050.)

But again, these prices for economic citizenship will go up at the end of June.

Now, economic citizenship is just one way to gain a second passport… and it might not be the right way for you. It’s generally fast and practically guaranteed. But, let’s be honest, it’s expensive for a lot of people.

Some lucky folks can claim citizenship through ancestry, practically for free. Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Poland, for example, each offer citizenship to individuals who can trace their descent through official documentation.

Or you could naturalize in a country to gain citizenship by spending a certain amount of time living there with legal residency. In Argentina it’s as little as two years; five years in Mexico and Portugal, and ten years in Spain, Italy, and Greece.

A second passport is such a valuable part of a Plan B because it is like an insurance policy, protecting you against unknown future risks.

For example, it should be obvious that the US is a deeply divided society that is deteriorating quickly. Think about how much has changed in the past decade alone and try to imagine what society will look like ten years from now.

It’s hard to say… but the trend doesn’t look good.

A second passport is like an insurance policy for all these future risks and uncertainties.

It’s not some magical document that will solve all your problems or take every risk off the table. But having a second passport does mean that, no matter what, you and your family will always have a place to go if you ever need it.

Hopefully you don’t. Hopefully you don’t need your home insurance policy either.

But if the day ever comes that you do need it, then it will be too late at that point to get started.

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